There are two main types of Emergency Voice Communication Systems (EVCS): hard-wired and wireless.
In this blog we are going to talk about some benefits of wireless (also known as ‘radio-based’) systems.
Wireless v hard-wired EVC systems – what’s the difference?
Both wireless and hard-wired EVCSs are generally built around two components which can be used for two-way communication:
1. ‘outstations’ (generally based in building refuge areas, these enable people to request help)
2. ‘master stations’ (based in central locations from which building management or other responders can answer calls and provide updates to people at the outstation(s).)
With hard-wired EVCSs, cabling would be run from the outstation(s) to the master station(s). But wireless ECVSs don’t use this cabling; instead, they’re radio-based.
Why use a wireless EVCS?
Avoids structural alterations to buildings
For many building managers, the idea of running new cabling through an existing building is far from ideal.
For example, in listed buildings it may not be possible to make such changes, for risk of damaging the integrity of the building.
Meanwhile, many older buildings may contain asbestos materials which will require careful management to ensure it isn’t disturbed.
A radio-based EVCS can be an ideal ‘retrofit’ alternative because it avoids the need to lay any cabling between the outstation(s) and the master station(s).
Minimises installation time
Reducing downtime and disruption is key for any business. Minimising the amount of time the EVCS installation team are on-site can be particularly important in areas with high footfall.
Generally speaking, if new cabling doesn’t need to be run for an EVCS, then the installation work is also likely to be completed more quickly.
With a radio-based EVCS the outstation(s) and master station(s) simply have to be fixed in their locations, and set up to securely communicate with each other using the allocated radio frequency.
Flexibility to expand or relocate the system
After a hard-wired EVCS is installed, its geographical setup can’t be amended or expanded without also amending the system’s cabling.
However, a radio-based EVCS often allows for numerous additional units to be installed wirelessly into the existing system.
Outstations and master stations installed on a wireless EVCS can also usually be relocated to a new building if necessary – for example, if a company moves office.
Did you know: One of our Refuge Alerter master stations allows integration of up to 999 outstations!
Ideal for larger sites
Where organisations have multiple buildings across a site, a radio-based EVCS could facilitate communication between outstations in numerous buildings and at least one master station.
(For this to be possible with hard-wired systems, it would require cabling to be run between those buildings.)
An example of where this setup could be particularly useful would be a university campus, where outstations could be placed in multiple buildings and linked back to responders in a central security office.
And because EVCSs like our wireless Refuge Alerter can be expanded, further outstations could be added to the system in future, should the estate size grow.
Did you know: The size of university estate (GIA) across the UK grew by 2.5% (523,4521m2) in 2020/1, compared to the year before (www.aude.ac.uk/news-and-blogs/emr-report/)
Option for communication ‘on the move’
Some wireless EVCSs – such as our Refuge Alerter solution – have the option of including Portable Refuge Communicators (PRCs).
PRCs are portable, handheld devices that can be used by fire marshalls and building managers while on-the-move, to communicate via outstations and the master station.
The addition of PRCs into an EVCS can be extremely important; using them can help responders maintain communication with people at outstations, should the master station area become compromised with smoke or fire.
At Alerter Group we offer EVCSs tailored to specific needs. Our Refuge Alerter solution is perfect for a range of locations and building types – from new builds to listed and historic venues.